Yorkshire Sculpture Park: New Robert Indiana exhibition

Behind the scenes at YSP with Alex White, art technician

By Jane Chippindale
Thursday, 7th April 2022, 8:28 am

Alex White writes: For many people, YSP is rooted within their family history. My parents studied at Bretton Hall College of Education, the old teacher training college within the park’s grounds.

My first encounter with YSP was as a participant in Anton Burdakov’s exhibition Assembly in 2015 while I was a creative art practice undergraduate. When I finished my fine art MA I joined YSP full-time, starting with the installation of the major exhibition by influential American artist David Smith in 2019.

As an art technician, no two days are alike. I could be installing a monumental sculpture in the landscape one day and hanging delicate drawings the next.

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Installing Robert Indiana Sculpture 1958-2018 at Yorkshire Sculpture Park, 2022. Photo © Jonty Wilde, courtesy of Yorkshire Sculpture Park

YSP constantly surprises me, revealing new and exciting encounters. I never knew there was a bird hide by the lake.

We recently opened Robert Indiana: Sculpture 1958-2018 which is the first major UK exhibition of sculpture, paintings and prints by this iconic American artist.

An exhibition of this scale takes a lot of planning. Having multiple artworks arrive at one time proved logistically challenging, the Underground Gallery was like a maze with enormous wooden crates. Handling delicate paintings to hefty bronzes, the technical team ensure every move is measured.

A special part of my job is un-crating the artworks and getting a first glimpse. Indiana’s took me by surprise – the materials and fabrication are impeccable, and the colours are extremely vibrant in real life. Getting hands-on with the works gave me time to appreciate the sharp edges of the aluminium and the detailed bronze casting.

Installing Robert Indiana, LOVE (Red Blue Green), 1966–1998. Photo © Jonty Wilde, courtesy of Yorkshire Sculpture Park

As well as installing works in the gallery we have several outdoor sculptures by Indiana. February brought a spate of storms which disrupted our schedule. When the strong winds subsided, we were able to use a crane to install large sculptures like the iconic LOVE (Red Blue Green) (1966–1998) which greets visitors as they enter.

Robert Indiana: Sculpture 1958-2018 is on view until January 8. Book tickets in advance via https://ysp.org.uk/

Installing Robert Indiana, LOVE (Red Blue Green), 1966–1998. Photo © Jonty Wilde, courtesy of Yorkshire Sculpture Park
Installing Robert Indiana, ONE Through ZERO (The Ten Numbers), 1980-2001. Photo © Jonty Wilde